Ultrasound vein mapping, also called vascular ultrasound, is a non-invasive diagnostic procedure that does not require the use of needles, dyes, radiation or anesthesia. 

How Vein Mapping Works

Vein mapping is a technique performed with an ultrasound probe that uses sound waves (doppler) technology to view or “map” all of the veins under the skin on the arms or legs. It allows the doctor to see the size, depth, and flow of blood in these veins and allows for better treatment planning. 

A vein mapping ultrasound typically takes 30-90 minutes to complete. The ultrasound technician will need access to your legs from the groin to the ankle or your arms from the neck to the wrist. Clothing that can be easily removed from the waist up (arm imaging) or waist down (leg imaging) is recommended.

Why Vein Mapping May Be Needed

It is commonly used in the surgical placement of an arteriovenous fistula which is created by connecting an artery to a vein using your own vessel. Ultrasound vein mapping helps ensure the veins are of sufficient size and flow to support the fistula.

It takes approximately three to six months for the fistula to mature enough for use, so vein mapping and fistula surgery needs to be performed well before the start of dialysis treatment.

Vein mapping is also commonly performed preceding graft placement for hemodialysis. A graft is a man-made tube that is inserted into your arm to connect an artery to a vein when the veins are too small for fistula or the veins are blocked.

Following a graft placement, patients typically need to wait 4-6 weeks for the graft to fully heal before it can be used for dialysis. 

For More Information

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